North Jing'an, where shit starts to get real. Not far from the New Factories
- hey remember that place? A colorful, local, and mostly un-gentrified neighborhood. Close to a popular street with pink and red lights. Lots of apartment complexes, stray cats, and cigarette shops. There's a KFC around there somewhere. The Line 7 Changping Lu station is ten minutes away by foot. Bunch of weird ghost malls over there. And a love hotel
What it is:
uDance Radio Vinyl Club (URVC) is a combination of a café, a radio station, and a vinyl shop. A place for people who want to hear good music and DJs outside of the club. Like the Boiler Room
in a café, with a seriously nice soundsystem. The place is run by Dave K, a long-time Shanghainese DJ who's also the station manager for uDance Radio
, an independent Internet radio station that opened back in 2004.
Half the people who work there are DJs, like Dave K, Kin, and Eden. A giant, futuristic DJ booth takes up the south side of the room, behind which sits a few dozen crates of hand-picked vinyl for sale and trade. Frequent DJs can keep their own record cubbies. They've also set up a Discogs
shop for URVC, so DJs who need to unload vinyl from Shanghai can do so easily and the café takes 30%.
Hip but not hipster. Dave K said this place is supposed to feel like a 70s/80s Hong Kong restaurant or café with modern touches. A Renaissance of sorts. They claim the wood floors come from a now-demolished house on the Bund. Neon, boomboxes, and tasteful Taobao lights ornament the high-ceilinged concrete room. One of the three heavy doors has a sliding peephole and goes directly into the DJ booth.
Some serious attention to detail going on here, with USB ports in all the power outlets. The ventilation system can pull away the smoke from 300 customers, although the place can only seat 70–100. One flick of a switch and all the bad air spirals up toward the 15-foot high ceilings and gets transported far away. The bathroom is all stainless steel and black lights, inspired by David Lynch films. They've brought in a toilet from a jail, equipped with a powerful looking bidet.
The second floor has a bit of a VIP area that overlooks the bottom. Anyone can book a table up there if they call ahead. A garden is in the works as well, with plans to find an old Volkswagen, gut it, and convert it into a kitchen that will sit out in front of the place.
Good music. Mixes and albums by day then live DJ sets broadcast around the globe starting at 8pm every night. At the moment, that schedule includes uDance founder Andrew Bull's Disco Buffet on Monday, hip hop from Come Correct Radio on Tuesday, all female DJs on Wednesday, Shanghai In The Trap on Thursdsay, the Unity reggae show on Fridays, a hotpot of jams on Saturday, and Golden Love Songs on Sundays -- all vinyl 70s and 80s selected by Dave K. Naturally the soundsystem is first class, with Technics turntables, Martin Audio speakers, and a vintage amplifier on the way.
Cheap by Shanghai standards for nice, hip places. Double espressos going for 25rmb, beer bottles for 30, really good smoothie/mocktail creations for 30rmb, and mixed drinks and cocktails for 50–60rmb. Sandwiches and salads in the works.
Right now, just investors, friends of the DJs, curious passersby, and people doing radio shows there. They have their grand opening Sunday, August 31 2014 with 12 DJs playing from 2pm–2am. In the future, music lovers who want to hear their friends DJ but don't want to wait until a 2am set in a dank club. Guest DJs playing around town may drop in for sets as well.